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39th Van Wert Peony Festival begins Friday, June 6
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Thursday, June 05, 2014 11:10 AM

VAN WERT – The 39th version of the Peony Festival begins this Friday, June 6, at 10 A.M. in Van Wert's Fountain Park. A craft show, Optimist Youth Art Show, Art Rageous On Main Artists Exhibits, car show, food vendors including the Peony Festival food booth in Fountain Park all lead up to the Fountain Park Community Concert at 7 PM featuring Papa Doo Run Run. This concert is sponsored by the Van Wert County Foundation and always draws an extra large crowd on the first day of the Peony Festival weekend.

On Saturday, June 7, the annual free kids' fishing derby will be held at Camp Clay. Kids ages 3–13 years have the chance for free fishing, no fishing license required, from 9–11 pm. Prizes are given for the longest fish in four age groups and one overall winner. Bait is furnished for all kids. Show up with a fishing rod ready to go! An information sheet is available at vanwertpeony.com.

The YMCA is hosting its annual Peony Pace 5K Run & Walk plus a 1-mile Fun Run for kids in conjunction with the free fishing derby. Visit the YMCA website for registration forms.

Fountain Park has activities all day and evening Saturday with the Girl Scouts of America offering children's games and Main Street Van Wert sponsoring fun activities Chalk the Walk, Art Rageous On Main, and the popular Architectural Hunt downtown. The Optimist Youth Art Show is again part of the festival and the annual pet show is now a free entry pet show 10–11 a.m. in Fountain Park. Bring your special pet early, register, and then show off your pet!

Food vendors are open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and the craft show continues until the annual Peony Parade begins at 5 p.m. A new free event this year in Fountain Park is the Medieval Reenactors performing from 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Young dancers from Stars by Erin dance studio hit the band shell stage from 12:30–1 p.m.

This year there is a Saturday night free concert sponsored by the Peony Festival Committee. Blair Carmen, playing authentic 1950s style Honky Tonk, takes the stage at 7 p.m. The Peony Parade again follows the south-to-north Washington Street route beginning at the county fairgrounds at 5 p.m. Gather up your group of parade watchers for an after-parade visit back to Fountain Park. The food vendors will be ready for your group and then get a good seat before the concert starts.

A new event this year is the Punt, Pass & Kick competition on Saturday, June 7, 1:30 p.m. at Eggerss Stadium. The Van Wert High School football team is sponsoring the event for ages 6–17 years and an adult division. This is a fundraiser for the football program with a registration cost of $5. The registration form is also available at vanwertpeony.com.

A “retro” event comes back to the National Guard Armory this year. Remember when the Jubilee Flower Show was held at the armory many years ago? It's back, hosted by the Wassenberg Art Center in their newly remodeled armory building. It's an amazing building and a must-see this year. This 53rd Flower Show will be 1–5 p.m. Saturday and 1–4 p.m. Sunday. Wassenberg also has a charity silent auction on the festival weekend.

The Peony Festival Garden Tours are Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and Sunday noon–3 p.m. The Wassenberg Art Center is included on the tour this year. Stop by the Peony Festival information booth at the corner of Fountain Park to pickup a tour schedule. The booth opens at 10 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Queen Jubilee XXXIX, Chelsea Hancock, Crestview High School, and her court have a 11 a.m.–1 p.m. luncheon at DeShia Country Gift Shoppe on Friday. The Queen's Reception is combined with the Flowers In Full Bloom Reception on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Willow Bend Country Club.